The Whistle

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The Whistle

Post by Lincolnshirelass » 21 Nov 2017, 04:21

From the moment he first kicked a ball nobody doubted that Bob had great talent. It didn't even have to be a ball. A tin can or a stone would do. He could make it go any which way he chose, weaving effortlessly around the other boys and finding the net - or the space between two coats - with ease. If anyone asked him what he wanted to be, he replied without hesitation 'a footballer'.

His parents didn't want to discourage him. Once he had overheard his grandfather say to his father, 'You're doing the lad no favours. He'll end up going down the pit same as we all have. Don't fill his head with dreams.' It's not a dream, Bob thought, mutinously sticking out his lip. You'll see.

His teacher, Mr Harris, was more encouraging. He had played football himself when he was younger, and his career had been cut short by an injury. Still, he knew raw ability when he saw it. To look at Mr Harris you wouldn't think he was a dreamer - he had run to fat since he stopped playing football, and he had a balding head and wore horn-rimmed glasses. He was a strict disciplinarian and stood no nonsense. There was just something about that gaze of his and a certain tone of voice. Nobody could remember him ever using the cane, but even with the roughest lad, he didn't need to. But - though he would have sworn on the Bible he had no favourites - he had a soft spot for Bob. He saw something of his younger self in the cheeky sandy-haired boy.

The trouble was, Bob had no respect for the laws of the game! Though he wasn't a naughty child generally, when the whistle blew if he was off-side he stamped his foot and said, 'Sir, I was just about to score a goal!'
'You mind your manners,' Mr Harris said, in his no nonsense voice, and Bob apologised, but the fact remained, he hated nothing more than the sound of that blasted - in both senses of the word - whistle! Mr Harris once took him to one side and tried to explain that everything in life needed rules and regulations. 'I can see the point of some of it, sir,' he said, 'But hearing that ruddy whistle when I'm about to score a goal - what's the sense of it?'
'Don't you DARE say ruddy to me again!' Mr Harris told him, but in his heart he could see where the lad was coming from.

Most people thought that Bob had grown up and begun to see sense, and that HAVING to obey orders was no bad thing for him. He was certainly tall and strong. But he still hated nothing so much as the sound of a whistle. He would not have admitted it to anyone, but it wasn't just his mutinous streak - there was something about the sound that unnerved and irritated him at the same time.

And now it blew, that ruddy (and in his mind he used a much stronger word, one that even Mr Harris might have got out his cane for) whistle blew - once, twice, three times. Now he had no choice but to do as the whistle told him. He knew only too well what happened to those who didn't. A dawn walk and a family forever shamed and shunned.

His last thought as he lay in the mud of the Somme was, 'I'll show you, Granddad. I WILL be a footballer.
An Eye for an Eye only ends up making the whole world blind.

Mahatma Gandhi

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Post by DATo » 21 Nov 2017, 06:59

Ho ho ho! Now that was clever. Believe it or not the battle of the Somme has been on my mind lately and it is a coincidence that you bring it to bear on the story. Of course the carnage in that battle was horrendous, and it is considered the bloodiest battle in British history, which opens several avenues of thought regarding the ending of your story. On one hand it suggests that Bob will vent a lifetime of fury on the sound of the whistle with his fleetness of foot and aggressiveness of his fighting; and on the other hand, it might suggest a deep-seated, lifetime presentiment of his destiny to be killed in this battle and thus his lifelong fury with the symbol which heralds this final destiny.

As always, nice story!
“I just got out of the hospital. I was in a speed reading accident. I hit a book mark and flew across the room.”
― Steven Wright

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